Last night, I made blackberry fool. I was inspired by the charming and beautiful picture book A Fine Dessert, by Emily Jenkins and Sophie Blackall. The book includes the stories of mothers and daughters from 1710, 1810, and 1910, as well as that of a boy and his father in 2010, and a recipe. What do these stories have in common? One sweet treat!
This is the recipe (as written in the book):
Blackberry Fool: A Recipe
2-1/2 cups fresh blackberries (Other berries will do- but the fool won't have such a nice purple color; frozen berries will work, though fresh are nicer.)
1/2 cup sugar, divided in two
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
Find an adult to cook with you.
Mash the berries with a potato masher or a large fork. If you've got a food processor, you can use that. With clean hands, press the crushed berries through a sieve to remove the seeds. Sprinkle the fruit with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Stir.
In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, the vanilla, and the cream. Using a whisk or whatever kind of beater you have, whip the mixture until it makes soft peaks, but not stiff ones.
Fold the sugared berries into the whipped cream. Taste it to see if it's sweet enough. Add more sugar if you need it. There should be streaks of white and purple.
Refrigerate for 3 hours or more.
Eat! And don't forget to lick the bowl.
So, I followed the recipe mostly, although I forgot I could use my hands for straining, and spent 45 minutes with a spoon. I also didn't refrigerate for 3 hours. I did for about an hour, and the fool got pleasingly stiff, but luckily not frozen. If you don't have 3 hours +, it's ok to refrigerate it for less time. But you do need it to get cold, otherwise it is a mess of flop.
If you are curious about the word "fool", and you have a copy of The Oxford Companion to Food, look for it under f. It's actually quite interesting to read.